Friday, December 13, 2013

Attack of the Geminids

Take Cover! Space Rocks are entering the atmosphere RIGHT NOW!

It's time for the annual encounter with debris from the comet 3200 Phaethon. Each year, as the Earth revolves around the Sun, we come upon the orbital path taken by the comet, which is considered a "B-Type" asteroid, having a dark surface and still emitting dust and debris as its elliptical orbit (more like a comet than asteroid) brings it closer to the Sun. Its orbit is classed as an Apollo-type, and it orbits out from the Sun farther than the Earth's orbit but regularly crosses our path. Astronomers have linked the debris shed by 3200 Phaethon as the exact objects that encounter the Earth during the Geminid meteor shower each year. You can read more about 3200 Phaeton at: .

Geminid meteors will be seen coming from the constellation Gemini. Chart view from Sky and

If you have the endurance to look for the meteors during this very cold winter blast, look toward the constellation of Gemini. Sky and Telescope Magazine has a nice chart for you at:

The Geminid shower started last night, and according to reports in, the NASA cameras have detected 23 Fireballs over the US so far, and we can expect the shower to last over the next few days. Check out the orbital paths of the debris at: while he has the images up.

Geminid Fireball from 2011. Credit Mount Washington Valley Astronomy:

From the Command Bunker: I should be safe from the bombardment here in the SpaceRubble Command Bunker. It's a very rare thing indeed for a home to be hit from a meteorite, but then again, look what just happened to the Russians in Chelyabinsk! I'm afraid I won't be spending Too Much time observing for meteor trails, as the temperature here is far below freezing at night. Yet, if the sky is clear tonight, the peak of the meteor shower is expected Dec. 12-13. Based on the report of fireballs, it seems that the outer space enemy of the Comet Empire still has some life in that old asteroid 3200 Phaeton, and these bombardments can be expected next year and many years after that. Shields Up! 

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